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Pro Bono & Beyond: An International Scope

In late 2021, attorney John Shoemaker began exploring pro bono opportunities for Butler Snow’s Singapore attorneys, whose practices focus on international tax matters. The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, a long-time partner of Butler Snow, presented the perfect opportunity for John, Hara Kee and Ivan Lu.

The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation works with a global community of over 150 of the world’s top-tier law firms across over 120 countries to match transactional legal projects created by social entrepreneurs with member firms and their lawyers. The organization works directly with the social entrepreneurs to help them with common legal issues they face, but also curates a list of pro bono opportunities for member firms.

In February 2022, John, Hara and Ivan began working  with Emerson Collective to develop a legal approach to support independent bookstores with their mission-driven work, including preparing a presentation on how nonprofit and hybrid models work from a legal and tax perspective.

While the attorneys in the firm’s Singapore office practice in international tax matters, they have varied pro bono interests. Meet Hara, Ivan and John.

Hara Kee

In my practice, I mainly work on Federal tax issues and estate planning matters.

Related to my practice, I have previously volunteered at a low-income taxpayer clinic, helping the taxpayers with their offers in compromise applications, and at an elder law clinic, preparing health care proxy and power of attorney for any walk-in clients. I’m interested in helping U.S. citizens living abroad with their tax or estate planning matters and helping Korean language speakers (and any other minority groups) living in the U.S. with various social issues (and tax and estate planning issues) that they are facing. 

Ivan Lu

My practice is primarily focused on U.S. Federal estate, gift and income tax issues in the international context.

Outside of the tax world, I have experience working with victims of gender-based violence. I grew up with persons who have been prostituted and sold into sexual slavery, and have worked with victims of sexual crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and worked at an anti-human trafficking public policy organization in Washington, D.C. I am broadly interested in pro bono work that addresses sexual crimes. I was also formerly a missionary with Youth with a Mission in the jungles of Indonesia, and I preach at an Indonesian church here in Singapore. I am also happy to assist Christian international organizations that may need assistance with respect to U.S. tax or other U.S. legal issues.

John Shoemaker

My tax-focused practice is focused on Federal tax issues and estate planning, but I can also address financial regulations and information exchange regimes.

In the past I have worked with insurance issues (both health and life) at the Kansas Insurance Department and Coventry Health Care. I am interested in educational opportunities for low income students, tax preparation and controversy assistance for low income taxpayers, empowering women small business owners and using the arts to grow political and financial awareness.

Butler Snow is incredibly proud of the work done by our international attorneys in the pro bono arena and we appreciate their commitment to the firm and their professional responsibilities.